It was an instance of the media becoming the news, instead of merely reporting it.
While allowing conditional anticipatory bail to YSRCP’s Kadapa parliamentarian YS Avinash Reddy in the Viveka murder case on Wednesday, 31 May, Justice M Laxman of the Telangana High Court expressed acute displeasure at two Telugu news channels for seeking to “derail the judicial process”.
The judicial ire was provoked by debates on the Viveka murder case and related court proceedings aired by the two news channels, Maha News and ABN, on 26 May.
Noting in his order that “one of the participants, who is a suspended and detained judge, made a direct attack by saying money bags went to the judge”, Justice Laxman directed the court registry to download videos of the debates and send them to the Chief Justice for appropriate action.
Clearly riled by what appeared like imputations against him, Justice Laxman noted that another participant, who seemed to hold a respectable office, used derogatory language “to tarnish my comprehension and competency abilities” by misinterpreting and misunderstanding the deliberations of the court.
Justice Laxman said that he was not worried about the attempts to tarnish his image as “the image one had is indestructible, and if such an image is prone to be destructible, it is not an image at all”.
However, he added, he was concerned that such actions would damage the institutional image.
“It is high time to protect our image by concerted efforts. I am greatly hurt not by individual comments, but by facilitation and abetment done by selective media. In my view such action clearly amounts to the invocation of proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, but I desist from doing so by leaving it open to the head of the institution to take or not to take action,” he said.